Locals upset as US Forest Service start wild horse roundup near - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Locals upset as US Forest Service start wild horse roundup near Cold Creek

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Normally-quiet roads near Cold Creek were filled with US Forest Service cars and horse trailers on Thursday. Normally-quiet roads near Cold Creek were filled with US Forest Service cars and horse trailers on Thursday.
HUMBOLDT-TOIYABE NATIONAL FOREST (FOX5) -

Normally-quiet roads near Cold Creek were filled with US Forest Service cars and horse trailers on Thursday. Crews prepared to gather dozens of the horses and relocate them from the area, which is in the Spring Mountains and north of Mount Charleston. 

A Forest Service spokesman said the roundup is needed, because there isn't enough food to support the 200 horses that live in that stretch of the mountains. 

“We've been monitoring this herd for a while, and their condition has been deteriorating," Naaman Horn said. "They’re getting in pretty poor health, and we've been in drought for several years, and there's just no food for them to forage on right now.”

But people who live in the small community of Cold Creek weren't behind the roundup and planned to protest the crews tasked with gathering the horses. 

“It's just a shame. The horses have been here a long time, and they should be allowed to remain,” Greg Clark said. Clark has lived in Cold Creek for six years, and said part of the reason why he moved to the town was for the wild horse population. 

This isn't the first time this area has been the target of a roundup. In 2015, the Bureau of Land Management gathered horses in a nearby area. Clark said before that roundup, he would see a horse every day. He said that isn't the case anymore. 

“Down here, there’s ten horses maybe,” Clark said, gesturing at an area near the town. 

Clark said he thinks the US Forest Service is wrong, and the horses have plenty to eat in the area. He said he and other locals also worried that moving the wild horses, which entails luring them into pens with hay, capturing them inside the pens, then loading them up into a horse trailer, will be too traumatic, especially for foals. 

But the US Forest Service said those claims a false. 

“We fear that some may pass away if they stay here,” Horn said. 

Rixey Jenkins, a nutrition expert for the US Forest Service explained that much of the green seen in this area are shrubs, weeds, yucca plants and joshua trees; all things that don't provide the needed nutrition for horses to survive. He said horses need to eat grass, and eat almost constantly, but much of the grass near Cold Creek is gone. 

Still, locals said they plan to put up a fight to keep the horses. 

“I’ve got a call into a attorney," Clark said. "I would like to file in injunction to prevent them from going further.”

“Everyone is passionate about these horses and they want to see the best for them," Horn said. "We don’t always agree on what the best is, but we care the horses very much as well.”

Horn said after the horses are gathered, the crews will take them to a temporary holding site, and a veterinarian will check out the animals. From there, the wild horses would go to a BLM holding facility in California, where they can be adopted, transferred to a "short-term corral" or a taken to a "long-term pasture."

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